Friday, March 21, 2008

In Small Packages

Last Thursday I made my way over to the new lil Opal Gallery in lil 5 points for the opening of "Color Fields: an instant exhibition," a group show of Polaroid photographs. It was my first time to Opal and I was eager to see the space after learning that the ingenuity of architects Brian Bell and David Yokum, of, were employed for the design the space. These are the guys also behind the renovation of Whitespace and this slick house.

One of the unique aspects of the one room space is that every wall can be viewed from outside of the gallery through the all-glass facade. It creates a nice transparency for passers-by to be able to view shows, even when the gallery is closed, a bit like window shopping but more like window perusing. It seems like a space ripe for shows incorporating public interaction.

The show, of 13 artists captivated by Polaroid film, was curated by Stephanie Dowda and presented by the collective Click Clique. The show was arranged in rows by color value to represent the color spectrum wrapping around the three walls and each grouping was the work of a different photographer.

I was torn between loving the simplicity of the presentation, which complimented the space and engaged the shape of the instant photographs perfectly, with wishing I had more information in the form of name labels. But in retrospect I think the ambiguity of the artists (which I am sure could have been easily rectified if I wasn't too lazy to ask for a show list) actually benefited the presentation of the work. Because all of the artists are using such a standardized format, it was interesting to walk around the room and begin picking up on slight nuances in style, subject matter, and camera handling to develop my own reading of these narrative-rich works.

People hiding their faces in rouge.

Some guy with orange hair took a picture of me taking pictures.

Blues and Greens. A picture of a picture of a picture.

While coincidental in timing, this shows carries extra impact due to Polaroid's recent announcement to end production of their instant film in 2009. It's hard to image a world without Polaroid film and with the resurgence in popularity I wish Polaroid had held out just a little longer. Then again, at $1 a shot, how can they compete with digital? Polaroid needs to move on towards creating a digital camera that captures the same great saturated colors and toy camera feel of the real thing, because there really is no substitute.

This series of colors fields was a nice juxtaposition to the majority of bright figurative work.

Makes me think of Tillman's Concord series

except without the planes. These work really well together.

Stephanie Dowda eyeing the art (or posing uncomfortably at my insistence)

This is a great shot.

Also brings to mind the (Nan Goldin meets street art meets privileged upbringing) Polaroids of this puffery punk.

Yellow. These three are awesome together.

Show is up until April 2nd 2008, go check it out. And at only $30 a pop, start yourself an art collection.

1 comment:

littlejoke said...

Fine documentation of a very fine show. Good to have something permanent (as far as anything is in the digital era) about an exceptionally ephemeral local occurrence.